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Captain Piccard's Solar Impulse takes flight

Vlad Savov

They said it couldn't be done. They laughed and questioned what would happen when the sun sets, but the man whose passport reads Piccard, Bertrand, and whose bold will and bald helm match a similarly named Capitaine, has now overseen the first solar-powered flight on the Solar Impulse HB-SIA. Okay, so it was 1,150 feet flown at a meter above ground level, but that's just classic Swiss caution for you, no reason not to celebrate the fact that there's now a flying tub powered purely by solar energy and promising a future of aircraft operating indefinitely -- so long as the sun doesn't forget to rise every morning. This comes mere days after the first runway tests were carried out, leading us to believe that this is one mission with a glorious chance of success.

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